• Acta Anaesthesiol Scand · Oct 1997

    Randomized Controlled Trial Multicenter Study Clinical Trial

    Residual neuromuscular block is a risk factor for postoperative pulmonary complications. A prospective, randomised, and blinded study of postoperative pulmonary complications after atracurium, vecuronium and pancuronium.

    • H Berg, J Roed, J Viby-Mogensen, C R Mortensen, J Engbaek, L T Skovgaard, and J J Krintel.
    • Department of Anaesthesia, Copenhagen University Hospital, Rigshospitalet, Denmark.
    • Acta Anaesthesiol Scand. 1997 Oct 1;41(9):1095-1103.

    BackgroundAfter anaesthesia involving pancuronium a high incidence of both residual neuromuscular block and postoperative pulmonary complications (POPC) has been reported. The aim of this study was to compare the incidence of POPC following the use of pancuronium, atracurium, and vecuronium, and to examine the effect of residual neuromuscular block on the incidence of POPC.MethodsA total of 691 adult patients undergoing abdominal, gynaecological, or orthopaedic surgery under general anaesthesia were randomised to receive either pancuronium, atracurium, or vecuronium. Perioperatively, the response to train-of-four (TOF) nerve stimulation was evaluated manually. Postoperatively, the TOF ratios were measured mechanomyographically, and through a 6-day follow-up the patients were examined for pulmonary complications.ResultsThe incidence of residual block, defined as a TOF ratio < 0.7, was significantly higher in the pancuronium group (59/226: 26%) than in the atracurium/vecuronium groups (24/450: 5.3%). In the pancuronium group, significantly more patients with residual block developed POPC (10/59: 16.9%) as compared to patients without residual block (8/167: 4.8%). In the atracurium/vecuronium groups, the incidence of POPC was not significantly different in patients with (1/24: 4.2%) or without (23/426: 5.4%) residual block. Multiple regression analysis indicated that abdominal surgery, age, long-lasting surgery, and a TOF ratio < 0.7 following the use of pancuronium were potential risk factors for the development of POPC.ConclusionPostoperative residual block caused by pancuronium is a significant risk factor for development of POPC.

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